Blackwood Special Diet dry dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Blackwood Special Diets dog food product line includes four kibbles, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Blackwood Special Diet Lamb and Rice (4 stars)
- Blackwood Special Diet Salmon and Potato (4.5 stars) *
- Blackwood Special Diet Chicken and Potato (4.5 stars) *
- Blackwood Special Diet Sensitive Skin/Stomach (4 stars)
* Grain-free recipes
Blackwood Special Diet Grain Free Salmon and Potato was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Blackwood Special Diet Grain Free Salmon Meal and Potato
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Salmon meal, potato flakes, tapioca starch, field peas, canola oil, catfish meal, herring meal, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, natural flavor, chicken cartilage, lecithin, calcium carbonate, dl-methionine, kelp meal, apple, rosemary powder, ground thyme, ground cumin, mustard seed powder, crushed red chili pepper, pumpkin meal, salt, choline chloride, monosodium phosphate, cranberry, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, Yucca schidigera extract, fructooligosaccharide (FOS), glucosamine HCl, vitamin E supplement, mineral oil, ascorbic acid, niacin supplement, organic dried kelp, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, potassium chloride, iron sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, selenium, calcium iodate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||17%||44%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||35%||38%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon meal. Salmon meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than even fresh salmon.
The second ingredient lists potato flakes, a dehydrated potato product usually made from by-products of a food processing plant. This item is equal to corn in calorie content yet with notably more protein.
The third ingredient is tapioca. Tapioca is a natural extract made from the root of the cassava plant. It is a starchy carbohydrate that is not only grain-free… but also gluten-free.
The fourth ingredient is field peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient lists canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.
Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its source material.
Yet others find the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.2
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
The next ingredients include catfish and herring meals, two more protein-rich meat concentrates.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With four notable exceptions…
First, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener4 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
In addition, although we can’t be certain, mineral oil is apparently used in this recipe as a stool softener.
However, the inclusion of this additive can be controversial. That’s because the European Food Safety Authority has expressed some concern as to the long term health effects of using mineral oil in human food.5
And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals… minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
Blackwood Special Diet Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Blackwood Special Diet dog food looks to be an above-average kibble.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.
Average protein. Average fat. And average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
In addition, when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the field peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Blackwood Special Diet Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of poultry and fish meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
09/07/2011 Original review
03/11/2013 Review updated
03/11/2013 Last Update